Pedestrians may more safely cross State Route (SR) 31/Peterson Avenue in Douglas with installation of a new midblock crosswalk and upgrades at a second location. A Georgia Department of Transportation contractor built a new crosswalk on North Peterson Avenue at Sellers Street and upgraded an existing crosswalk in the 200 block of South Peterson Avenue.
Both have warning signs, stop bars and rectangular rapid flashing beacons (RRFBs). A pedestrian activates the beacons by pushing a button on the pole. The amber flashing lights improve a driver's visibility of pedestrians, especially in low light. Most pedestrian fatalities in Georgia happen during overnight hours. When the beacon comes on an approaching driver should stop behind the stop bar located north of the crosswalk. It is also indicated by a sign advising drivers to "stop here".
Midblock crosswalks are far less common in Southwest Georgia than standard crosswalks at intersections. Sometimes a location has enough pedestrian traffic and meets other qualifications for a midblock crossing. In Douglas the crosswalks connect parking lots to businesses. Midblock crosswalks are also located in Valdosta and Albany.
Pedestrian deaths have increased across the state since 2019. The Federal Highway Administration has found that midblock crosswalks with RRFBs and signs can help reduce car vs pedestrian crashes. Drivers and pedestrians always need to be cautious at any crosswalk, marked or unmarked. In fact, most pedestrian fatalities happen outside a crosswalk. The Georgia DOT's See and Be Seen campaign seeks to educate drivers and pedestrians about safety. For more information, go to http://www.dot.ga.gov/DS/SafetyOperation/SBS.